Before the interview
1) Analyze the job you are applying for
Many job seekers tend to overlook this step as they assume the job title speaks for the job itself. However, certain job may require the applicant to possess additional skills or take up additional responsibilities. For example, a Marketing role for a blockchain company would require the applicant to have some knowledge of blockchain technology.
Although many applicants are aware of this tip, many still barely scratch the surface when it comes to their research. Knowing the company from the ‘About Us’ section on their website is insufficient. What you would really like to know are things like:
- What is its growth potential for the future?
- Who are their main competitors?
- How are they viewed in the market place?
These information can usually be found on:
- The company’s annual reports
- The Stock Exchange Research Handbook
- The Internet/Company websites
Research does not only have to be confined to the company. If you know who is interviewing you, looking up on that person may really help in the interview as well. People communicate better with others who are on the same wavelength.
3) Prepare what to bring
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
- Multiple copies of your CV, Testimonials, References and Professional Certificates
- A portfolio of your work when applicable
- A pen and a notebook to take down notes
- A list of questions you plan to ask
- Breath mints!
4) Plan your attire
First impressions count! Ensure that you wear your smartest outfit and act in a professional manner throughout the interview. A company is more likely to hire somebody who is well presented as they will be future representatives of their company.
5) Practice your introduction and interview answers
Practicing your interviews will help to calm the nerves and prepare you for potential questions that may be asked by the interviewer. Unless you are quick on your feet, practicing your interviews will definitely help put your thoughts in order and prevent fumbling over answers.
Do practice and remember these important interview ethics:
- Switch your mobile phone off
- Listen and do not cut off a person when they are speaking
- Speak clearly and professionally
- Be sure to keep eye contact when speaking or being spoke to
- Dress appropriately
- When you are unsure of something, honesty is the best policy. DO NOT LIE!
- Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time
Ensure that you know the exact time and location of the interview. Allow plenty of time in case of travel delays.
During the interview
1) “Tell me about yourself”
This is a very common and the most underrated question an interviewer will ask. This seems very easy to answer at first but due to the broad nature of the question, job seekers tend to overdo it, stray from the question, jumble up their flow or they just don’t know themselves well enough to speak confidently. As first impressions are very important, this question can greatly affect the perception of you for the rest of the interview.
- It is good to emphasize one some of the skill you have that a relevant to the job
- State briefly some of your achievements and ask if the interviewer is keen, you may elaborate more
- It is good to bring up some hobbies/interests that may not be work related (better if it is) to give the interviewer a brief idea about you as a person. Eg. I design logos as a hobby, I’ve been volunteering at a charity organization for 3 years, I teach coding part-time at schools.
- In all, you should not spend more than 5 – 10 minutes introducing yourself unless the interview asks questions.
2) Be mindful of body language
Smile, ensure you give a firm handshake, make eye-contact, adopt good posture and speak clearly!
3) You are there to sell yourself
You are there to compete with the other applicants for the role. DO not be afraid to emphasize on your strengths and selling points. Always relate your skills and experience back to the job requirement. Provide data and elaborate on your work achievements more as it gives the interviewer a clearer idea of your capabilities. However, you must ensure not to sound too arrogant or over-confident. The key is to be assertive without being aggressive.
4) Be sure to ask questions
The interview is a two-way process. As well as the employer interviewing you, you are also interviewing your prospective employer. Having a list of questions ready shows your interest and dedication towards the seriousness of your career. Here are some questions you can consider:
- What will my role entail?
- How has this position become vacant?
- How does my role fit into the structure of the overall department?
- How will my performance be monitored?
- Who will I report to?
- Will anyone report to me?
- What are the opportunities for further training?
- Where is your company going? Expansion plans?
- Will this position involve travelling?
- What is the next step? What does my daily routine involve?
- What is the objective of this organisation/department/team?
- What sort of person does well here?
- How might I influence my own future in the company?
- Which of my skills are required to do this job?
- How does the culture of this team, this organisation compare to others?
5) Closing the interview
If you are interested in the role, ask about the next interview stage if appropriate. If the interviewer offers you the job on the spot and you want it, accept it there and then. If you require further time to think it over, be tactful in saying so and qualify your reasons. Try and provide a definite date as to when you can provide an answer.
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO THANK THE INTERVIEWER!
After the interview
1) Send a thank you email
This may seem very trivial and it is usually overlooked which can help you stand-out! Customize the email by bringing back what was discussed during the interview. This helps leave a lasting impression after a whole day of interviewing potential candidates.